Our ESG Report 2023

Top quality is sustainable
Durable products directly from the manufacturer


For over 75 years, we have used our engineering and experience to develop durable water treatment systems. Herco has a chemical-free DNA. Reverse osmosis is our core product as a chemical-free process for water treatment using membrane technology. We are deeply rooted in Baden-Württemberg. We have always been economical in our use of resources, if only for our own sake. However, resources have become increasingly scarce in recent years. Water is one of the central factors in our world. This fact makes the topic of water management one of the most important areas of sustainability in the coming decades.

Sustainable water treatment will play an increasingly central role on this planet in the future and water quality will have a decisive influence on the living conditions of all the earth's inhabitants. However, we can only solve this global challenge together. That is why the values and principles of Herco Wassertechnik GmbH are closely linked to the issue of sustainability: the economical use of resources, as well as the energy efficiency and longevity of our water treatment plants are our top priorities.

First EMAS-certified plant manufacturer in the water treatment sector

  • In 2022, we established an ambitious environmental management system according to ISO 14001 in the development and production of water treatment plants.

  • Sustainable products are one of the top priorities at Herco and are anchored in the environmental goals of the company and the entire process chain.

  • We produce plant technology for water treatment with the lowest possible water and electricity consumption, e.g. through the standard use of energy-efficient high-pressure pumps with FU technology (frequency converter).
  • We record our environmental key figures according to EMAS for the continuous improvement of energy efficiency, reduction of water consumption and reduction of waste.

  • Sustainability starts with the employees. We invest in environmental education on the sustainable use of environmental resources in the manufacturing process and use their knowledge in the development of our products.

We are guided by global development goals
with the focus on Product, People and Planet

In addition, we are contributing to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, with the UN's Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as our guiding principles for corporate, social and environmental sustainability, so that we can continue to thrive for the next 75 years and fulfil our responsibility to future generations. This Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) Report provides an overview of the issues that are at the forefront of our business.

This ESG report provides you with all relevant information on the impact of our business activities on the environment and the society embedded in it. In order to further anchor the topic of sustainability as a guiding principle at Herco, the focus is on three fields of action: "Product", "People" and "Planet". The report is structured according to these three areas.

The planet in the foreground

"To help shape the future of our blue planet sustainability is our motivation water technology is our passion and partnership forms the basis of how we act."

Edwin Locker, CEO & Sustainability Officer

Why we submit an ESG report

Herco, established in Germany in 1947, has continued to operate as a manufacturer in the country ever since. This means that we have been planning, designing and producing at our site in Freiberg am Neckar for over 75 years. We are rooted in the region and at the same time have the global challenges of the 21st century in mind. Our blue planet is 71% covered with water. However, only a fraction of this (around 2.5%) is usable as fresh water. The main motivation enough as a human being to use water sparingly as a resource. As a logical consequence, this is exactly what we want to do as a company and commit to improve our environmental performance continuously.

For this reason, Herco Wassertechnik GmbH applies an environmental management system in accordance with Regulation (EC) No. 1221/2009 and EN ISO 14001:2015. We have an environmental management system in place and regularly publish an environmental statement that is approved by an accredited, independent environmental verifier and is registered in the EMAS register. Transparency is important to us. Therefore, beyond the EMAS environmental statement, our ESG report illustrates how Herco Wassertechnik GmbH has already embedded the topic of sustainability in the company in the past, what we are doing today and what we still want to achieve in the future.

Herco's success is based on a long-term corporate culture. We rely on a long-term cooperation with our employees, in which respectful cooperation and humanity are in the foreground. With around 90 employees, our company is of a manageable size and therefore facilitates a family team culture that does justice to the individual needs and cultural diversity of our workforce.

Our passion for water technology drives us

As passionate engineers, we love to design well thought-out technology for the future.  For us, helping to shape the future means developing products that are as sustainable as possible, that save water and electricity, and that have a long serviceable life at the same time. Since everything is located at one site in Freiberg am Neckar, our transport routes are reduced to a minimum. In production, we work with certified quality management paired with state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques.

Our water treatment systems use membrane technology and work largely without chemicals. In addition, our products save a lot of water and electricity in use. For example, the concentrate-staged reverse osmosis series (UO KR) is particularly suitable for applications with high water consumption, such as in the food and beverage industry and in industrial applications. In addition, the UO units with frequency converter (FC) realise electricity savings of up to 50%.

UO-D 1000 AS/FU
Our UO-KR series saves water and electricity

Product range with long service life and high quality standards

Water treatment by reverse osmosis and membrane technology in low-chemical processes

High energy efficiency through the use of pumps with FU technology

UO KR systems achieve a high permeate yield of up to 90%.

Use of upcycled filter material

Optional retrofitting of existing plants to increase the yield

Comprehensive spare parts advice for maintenance instead of new plant construction

Digital commissioning possible to avoid emissions from business trips

Our goals for the next period

Evidence of sustainable supply chains (production and procurement)

Expanding the portfolio for the production of green hydrogen

Further increase yield and energy efficiency of the plants

Water treatment without salinisation of the waste water also for small flows

Minimising water consumption in the test field

Partnership as the basis for successful action

Without our employees, business partners and suppliers, Herco Wassertechnik GmbH would not exist. A good partnership is the basis of our actions and success. We rely on long-term cooperation with both our employees and our partners.

As a regionally rooted manufacturer, we naturally also act locally. Of course, we pay our employees in line with the industry standards, they receive local social benefits and have the maximum possible freedom in their decisions. We offer the opportunity for further training and are a training company.

The works council represents the interests of the employees and ensures gender equality and co-determination. Our in-house environmental protection is successful because the employees are actively involved in the environmental management system and are trained accordingly. Feedback and potential for improvement are directly integrated into operational processes, provided they can be implemented. For a good work-life balance, we offer our employees the possibility of a job bike, which can of course also be used privately.

The health motor is a central element of workplace health management and ensures movement in everyday life and at work. A team of employees regularly helps to determine the content of the health management and constructively incorporates feedback from colleagues into the programme. Adapted work shoes and individually orthopaedic insoles support the health of employees in production.

Bicycle as desired whether for the job or privately

Long-term cooperation with employees and partners with secure future prospects (with more than 95% permanent employment contracts)

Diversity, equality and inclusion i.e. disadvantages are consistently avoided; at the same time, expertise and human interaction count

Environmental management has a high priority and is the responsibility of the management; active participation of employees to identify potential for improvement.

Above-average employer contribution to company pension scheme (20% instead of 15%)

Further training opportunities for employees and partners in the Herco Academy and in webinars, as well as the possibility of external further training according to need and requirement.

Implementation of health management in the form of the "Gesundheitsmotor" with regular training offers and health advice

Promotion of bicycle mobility, also in the private sector, through job bikes and the offer of employee showers, regional apple boxes and subsidised canteen food from a sustainable caterer.

Annual donation of (1500 euros/year) to children who are ill or in life crises and (1500 euros/year) to a children's and youth hospice.

Our goals for the next period

Increasing the attractiveness as an employer through various measures from setting up a bike station including tools and pump at the site to continuously strengthening togetherness through an inclusive team culture

Still a training company both in the commercial area and in production

Recruitment of interns, working students, bachelor's and master's degree students as an integral part of our team.

Expansion of the Herco Academy with advanced training and further education offers

Minimising water consumption in the test field

Preserving the livelihood for future generations

Sustainable action is our principle in order to preserve the basis of life for future generations. For this reason, we want to further reduce the direct and indirect environmental impact of our operations and our products. Of course, the protection of our precious resource water is of particular importance to Herco. As a company rooted in Baden-Württemberg, we have always paid attention to our consumption of resources and to sustainable quality. That's why energy efficiency and the economical use of water are a top priority in our operating processes as well as in product design. In this way, we reduce CO₂ emissions and make a contribution to active climate protection.

We are working to offer sustainable water treatment for the production of green hydrogen. By converting green electricity into hydrogen, energy from the sun and wind can be stored, transported and used for vehicle drives. The electrolysis process associated with the production of green hydrogen relies on ultra-pure water, which our UO plants supply in a particularly energy-efficient way.

We are the first company in the field of water plant construction with an EMAS certificate. At the heart of the ambitious environmental management system is a continuous reduction of our "footprint" on the planet. To this end, we have already implemented measures at the production site such as switching the vehicle fleet to hybrid/electric drive, converting to LED lighting in all commercial areas and aerators at the hand wash basins.

We are working on the implementation of a photovoltaic system with a T-heat pump and are also looking beyond the end of our nose in the area of "Planet": In 2022, we spontaneously supported an aid project in Peru with the delivery of a drinking water treatment plant. Now the villagers in this region, which is plagued by poverty and water shortages, have access to 2,000 litres of clean drinking water per hour.

Donation project Peru
We regularly support sustainable projects

Continuous improvement of the CO₂ balance at the site with the goal of climate neutrality of production by 2025

Continuous improvement of the CO₂ balance of the products, e.g. in the area of energy efficiency of the plants.

Product design with a high water yield, e.g. in plants in the food industry with up to 90%.

High proportion of local suppliers with short transport routes

Support for an aid project for drinking water treatment in Peru

Application of a water recycling circuit in the test field

Our goals for the next period

We want to reduce our operational CO₂ emissions even further

Reduce resource consumption in operations e.g. savings targets for energy, water, packaging material e.g. increase recycling rate

Regular financial support of a development project in the field of "well construction" in South Sudan (7500 Euro/year)

Regular donation to a regional nature conservation project such as BUND (1500 euros/year)

Closing the water circuit in the test field

We welcome any questions or suggestions.

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